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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Illness beliefs of adolescents with CFS and their parents: the perceived causes of illness and beliefs about recovery

Maria E. LoadesORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0839-3190 / Katharine A. Rimes
  • Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, De Crespigny Park SE5 8AF, London, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Kate Lievesley
  • Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, De Crespigny Park SE5 8AF, London, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Sheila Ali / Trudie Chalder
  • Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Weston Education Centre, Cutcombe Road, London, SE5 9RJ, UK
  • South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 3BX, UK
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-08-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0197


The objective here was to explore beliefs about the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in a cohort of adolescents with CFS and their parents, and to explore the adolescent’s beliefs about recovery. Questionnaires were administered to a clinical cohort of adolescents (n = 104) and their parents (n = 102 mothers and 63 fathers), presenting to a specialist CFS unit. These included a question about the causes of their illness. Adolescents were also asked about the projected timeline of their recovery from CFS. The most commonly endorsed causes of CFS by adolescents and their parents were a virus and/or contextual factors and stress. Adolescents and their parents were in close agreement about the causes of CFS. Most adolescents said they did not know how long it would take them to recover from CFS. Informing adolescents about the prognosis for CFS is an important aspect of treatment.

Keywords: adolescents; CFS/ME; chronic fatigue syndrome; illness beliefs; parents


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About the article

Received: 2017-11-04

Accepted: 2018-01-21

Published Online: 2018-08-17

Conflicts of interest: TC is the author of several self-help books on chronic fatigue for which she has received royalties. KR has co-authored a book with TC called Overcoming Chronic Fatigue in Young People.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170197, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0197.

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